Why creativity matters Stories of creativity Tackling isolation through art in North Wales Gofal Dydd Y Waen & Community Arts, Denbighshire teamed up to deliver an arts project in North Wales addressing isolation during the pandemic. The project was one of three partnership projects commissioned by Creative Lives and funded by the Arts Council of Wales as part of Get Creative and Make a Difference. The partnership The project is a partnership between Gofal Dydd Y Waen Day Care, an entirely voluntary run, twice weekly Day Care service and Home Respite, and the Community Arts department of Denbighshire Leisure. It provided a range of arts and crafts activities, delivered through the medium of Welsh. Aiming to improve the wellbeing of people who are very isolated and who can go for days without seeing another person, the partners planned to deliver the creative activities on a one-to-one basis in participants’ gardens. The people who benefited from this commission were older people isolated through their illness, frailty and circumstances, and younger people living with life-limiting conditions – all have shielded and have struggled greatly over last year with resulting issues affecting physical and mental health. What was delivered? Covid-19 regulations had begun to ease when the project commenced delivery and some members of Gofal Dydd were meeting again in small groups for activity, social time and general wellbeing. This meant that rather than only delivering the activity on a 1:1 basis, the project was able to attend some of the group meetings and deliver to larger numbers. The artists were briefed to maintain social distancing throughout and all also did Lateral Flow Tests on the morning of the session, to try and ensure that they were not taking infection into the group. By coming through the door, the majority of the group know they are in for an interesting and fun session, and are all smiles. 10 creative sessions were delivered to Gofal Dydd members at Capel y Waun, with a total of 96 participants taking part over those 10 sessions. Sessions delivered included craft and music. Musician Elin Taylor also delivered 3 home concerts to those who were unable to attend Gofal Dydd. Each mini concert took place under strict Covid regulations, including face coverings and socially distancing measures. In total, there were 104 beneficiaries of the direct sessions led by artists, either in groups settings or in people’s homes. Artist Jude Wood and musician Ceri Rawson delivered upskilling sessions for Gofal Dydd volunteers, to demonstrate how to make use of the art materials; and how to use music creatively with participants. The project also provided 20 creative art packs by artist Ticky Lowe, for distribution to those who were unable to attend sessions at Capel y Waen and were especially isolated. The packs were developed for people living with dementia and were based on reminiscence and memory. There were four different packs developed and Gofal Dydd received five each of the following: Nature, Play, Home and Seaside. Each pack came with all materials and detailed but simple to follow instructions for creativity in the home. What were the outcomes? Gofal Dydd y Waen were delighted with both the direct sessions and opportunities for upskilling. The direct sessions had excellent outcomes, with both the group sessions and the mini-concerts held in people’s homes providing an opportunity for social interaction, engagement and a reduction in isolation and loneliness. The volunteer upskilling sessions led by Jude Wood provided an excellent opportunity for volunteers to learn a variety of craft skills to put into practice with the materials bought for the project. The volunteer session led by musician Ceri Rawson was invaluable in showing the volunteers how to use music and beat creatively with members of Gofal Dydd y Waen, as was the detailed resource sheet that was created specifically for the group. Thank you so much for the concert we had at home with Elin Taylor - it was wonderful that my husband and I and our teenage grandchildren were able to enjoy a lovely afternoon of music in our garden when life has been so complicated and sad for us recently. Please thank all who made this happen.